Would-be candidates learn paces

State Rep. Sandra Major, Falls Twp. Auditor Jay Sweeney and Commissioner Leon Allen field questions about their experiences running for public office at a workshop Saturday, sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension and the Susquehanna County Chapter of the League of Women Voters.

BY STACI WILSON

The local election season is about to kick off with county, municipal and school board races on the ballot this year.

Penn State Cooperative Extension, along with the Susquehanna County Chapter of the League of Women Voters, hosted a workshop about running for local office on Saturday.

Nearly 40 potential candidates and interested members of the public turned out for the presentation.

Those potentially seeking public office received information about campaign finance reporting and filing deadlines.

In addition to election information, three panelists – all with campaign experience – were on hand to answer questions and offer tips and advice to potential candidates.

Panelists included: State Rep. Sandra Major; Falls Twp. auditor and past Green Party candidate for the State House Jay Sweeney; and County Commissioner Leon Allen.

Sweeney said he was pleased to see the number of people who took petitions. “Don’t be apprehensive about running,” he advised. “It’s a very rewarding experience.” He added he was trying to talk people into running for office.

Major agreed with her former challenger.

“I can’t impress how important local elections are,” Major said. She added those positions carry a huge responsibility.

Allen told would-be office seekers that “name recognition” was important for seeking a county office. He told candidates to not be discouraged if they don’t win on their first run.

Sweeney advised independent and third party candidates to be aware of signature requirements for filing ballot petitions.

Sweeney said more signatures are required, but any registered voter can sign the third party petition and candidates have a longer timeframe in which to gather the needed signatures.

Jodi Cordner and Kathy Ragard both said they learned a lot at the workshop and both intend to run for the Magisterial District Justice seat in New Milford.

Both women are political newcomers and are seeking office for the first time.

“We still have questions,” said Cordner.

“Like when do we put signs out; when do we run ads in the paper,” Ragard finished.

But all-in-all, the two said they feel prepared to run for office.

County-wide races on this year’s ballot include all three county commissioner positions; treasurer; register/recorder/clerk of orphan’s court; district attorney; coroner; and three auditor positions.

Two magisterial district justice posts – Montrose and New Milford – are also on the ballot.

New Milford, incumbent Magisterial District Justice Peter Janicelli has indicated that he will not be seeking reelection.

In addition to the county and district justice races, each borough and township will have council or supervisor seats up for election.

The mayor’s seat in Susquehanna and Little Meadows will also appear on this year’s ballot.

Incumbent mayor of Little Meadows, Vivian Novick, was appointed to the post following the 2009 mayoral election.

Susquehanna’s incumbent mayor, Michael Matis, was appointed to the position last fall following the death of Denise Reddon.

Jessup Township voters will also see a tax collector slot on the ballot. Current collector Diane Truman was appointed after the 2009 election.

Each of the county’s six school districts has school director seats up for election this year.

The primary election will be held Tuesday, May 17.

This workshop is also scheduled to be held Feb. 10 in Wyoming County and Feb. 15 in Bradford County.

Information can also be obtained at the office of elections located in the Susquehanna County Courthouse, Maple St., Montrose, or call 278-4600, ext 220.

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